San Francisco, one of California's largest and busiest cities, is home to one of the most extraordinary landmarks in history: The Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge, standing at a height of a staggering 227 meters and spanning 1.7 miles across the beautiful San Francisco Bay, connects the big city of San Francisco and the mountainous Marin County. For almost ninety years, the Golden Gate Bridge has offered the public a convenient, effective, and trustworthy form of transportation. After surviving a massive earthquake and human gridlock, the bridge still stands as one of the world’s largest bridges. Thousands of construction workers and materials built the bridge. One construction piece, the rivet, played a small but vital part in the formation and development of the Golden Gate Bridge. The artifact I have photographed is one of the 600,000 rivets installed in the Golden Gate Bridge when it was first built.
I am lucky enough to have a personal connection with the famous Golden Gate Bridge. My great-grandfather, Edwin Fraser, served as a President on the Golden Gate Bridge Board. He represented Del Norte County on a Board of forty-two other presidents. Before his appearance on the Board of Presidents, my great-grandfather was elected by the majority in his district to represent them in this stunning feat of bridge building. On January 23, 1929, my great-grandfather, along with the other presidents and top bridge engineer firms in the country, met for the first time to draft their management plans for the next four years. My great-grandfather voted on the bridge act, a three-cent tax paid by taxpayers, and many other provisions proposed by geologists, engineers, and fellow board members. The Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors and Presidents earned a $35 million grant to build the Golden Gate Bridge. After four years of hard and challenging work, the first day of construction for the Golden Gate Bridge finally came on January 5, 1933. During the next four years, my great-grandfather collaborated with his fellow members to set goals for his workers to create the Golden Gate Bridge.
Finally, on May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to the public. As a token of my great-grandfather’s success, he was given a small red rivet, a replica of the ones used in the Golden Great Bridge, to take home. This artifact has made its way down to me, his great-grandson. I have the honor of keeping this meaningful artifact with my immediate family, and hopefully, will pass it down to the next generation. Although this rivet itself is not a part of the Golden Gate Bridge, it represents the bridge’s purpose. The rivet is a symbol of a bridge that provides transportation to 112,000 vehicles and 27,000 tourists a day. The rivets themselves make up the bridge’s skeleton, one of the most critical structures in the bridge. The rivet embodies the innovative nature of the bridge and its technological breakthroughs at the time. Without these rivets, people would not have a convenient form of transportation today in a city bustling with traffic. It brings people together in one grand location to look out onto the San Francisco Bay. The message behind this rivet expresses the true purpose of an artifact. It is a symbol of one of our greatest achievements for the well-being of mankind.